I have just been de-cluttering my notes as I get ready to pack up my bags again and discovered this from February.
It shows me that no matter what my attachment to a place may seem at the time, moments in a day like the one I am describing below belong anywhere, anytime. The outward simply reflecting the inward.
You can imagine that this is a very helpful reminder
That friendship is one of the most essential ingredients, and the possibility of sharing, another.
I haven’t edited it, so here it is in original letter form. I am describing a day in the beautiful valley in Sicily where my accommodation was powered by water, a gas cylinder, sun and wood.
Ten reasons for smiling… To the wonderful women of my womens’ group.
There is a kind of unreasonable euphoria which, I have noticed, comes over me reliably after a meal. (There is probably a sound physiological reason like ‘endorphins’ for this)
Today it was after a triumph with a boiled egg and some badly buttered bread. Everything seemed to be so sharp and beautiful. I had left the little metal coffee support on the hob, and the way the pan touched it at just 4 points was a delight. The birds singing. The salt jar lid on skew whiff. The way the light caught in places on the spiral, curly handle of the log burner, making it glow bronze. The sound of the river. The intense orange of yesterday’s picked oranges in a vibrant deep blue bowl. These tiny windows of profound and joyful rest amongst my habitual busy-ness.
I am back in the hills and this time, at least for this tiny moment after breakfast, I believed myself when I said “I am having a little holiday and I don’t have to do anything AT ALL”
I have had to remind myself of that quite a lot, but mostly, today has been an almost total stop, with long pauses just sitting or standing and staring.
I had lots of fun breaking open almonds on a block, with a heavy pestle. A brief pause to gather myself and release then whop!…. Many of them split first go, and even some of the kernels flew straight into their bowl while the shells went the opposite way into theirs!!! Made me laugh. A few of the others whizzed all over the room and pinged or clanged as they hit bits of cooking pots ….
Giovanni looked in and I managed to tell him in Italian that I was having a problem with a bonfire that was burning toxic waste. It has to be very tactfully framed, especially as its likely to be his bonfire, but it was making me feeling dreadfully sick, so I thought I would have to give it a go!…”Posso me aiutare? Il fuoco con fumare veleno, com gomma: Posso subito preventivo? Malata di systema nervosa… ”
“can you help? There is a fire with poisonous smoke, like rubber. Is it possible to prevent it immediately? I have a malady of the nervous system!!”
mimed retching and vomiting….
He promised it was all finished. And sweetly showed me how to find the illusive wild asparagus stalks that cooked with potato and herbs and other bits and pieces, brought on the next bout of stupidly happy!
Tonight I am sitting in the outdoor kitchen by the log burner, which has at last co-operated, stopped smoking and is burning bright and hot, writing by candle light. There is a fox shrieking somewhere and I have decided to go to bed inside with a hot water bottle instead of in my tent. I have become soft!
Earlier today I was dreaming of rebuilding the beautiful ruin on the other side of the valley. But at the cost per square meter I have had to let that one drop. Besides, my sensible Ruth has forbidden it, with lots of terribly grown up reasoning. I do agree with her really, but…..!
I am planning on staying here until the end of February and then all being well, to take a ferry to Greece and get going again. In the meantime, I have an invitation to give a concert and talk to the Catania cycling club, which should be interesting.
I have been thinking of you all so much and wondering how life is going in all its swinging colours and moods. So many things.. little things, usually, bring one or the other of you to mind and a huge great grin to my face or tears to remind me how much you touch my life, even from so far away.
Sending you all loads of love and this little word picture of my day to share with you.
Take care and please keep in touch. it is always so lovely to hear from you, even if it is just a small text!
Xxxxxxxx Jenny xxxxxxxxxX